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Year in Review—Contracts: Keep ’Em Flying

By By R&W Staff | December 1, 2006

A round-up of commercial and military contracts for rotorcraft and support over the last year.

AAI CORP WAS AWARDED AN $87.2-MILLION, FIRM, fixed-price contract for full-rate production of the Shadow Unmanned Aerial Vehicle System and associated support equipment. A second, $65.6-million contract was awarded the company for logistical support of the Shadow UAV.

Aero Comfort in January won a contract for three complete EC130 interior kits for Maverick Helicopter Tours. Aero Comfort is an FAA Repair Station in San Antonio, Texas, that specializes in aircraft interior refurbishment. It manufactures sets of seat cushions (backs and bottoms) and other items for different types of helicopters.


AgustaWestland has awarded Smiths Aerospace a contract to implement its SDS-5000 large-area cockpit display system on 70 of the U.K. Defence Ministry’s new Future Lynx. Smiths in Cheltenham, U.K., will manufacture the display suite with deliveries to AgustaWestland to start in 2008.

AgustaWestland has been awarded a contract by the Indian Navy to return to service seven Sea King Mk 42B helicopters. Work on the contract was to commence in late September.

AgustaWestland on June 22 signed a contract from the U.K. Ministry of Defence for 70 Future Lynx. The program, valued at just under £1 billion ($1.89 billion), will provide the British Army and Royal Navy with 40 and 30 Future Lynx, respectively. An option has also been placed for a further 10 aircraft split equally between the Army and Royal Navy.

AgustaWestland won a contract from the Royal Danish Air Force to supply EH101 Cockpit Procedures Trainer (CPT), which will play a significant role in EH101 Merlin Joint Supporter aircrew type conversion, continuation and mission training.

Australian Aerospace, a Eurocopter’s subsidiary, and the Australian Defence Material Organisation (DMO) on June 29 signed the contract to provide 34 additional MRH-90 medium-lift helicopters to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and the associated support for a period of 10 years. Australia now has ordered 46 MRH-90s as part of the modernization and rationalization of its helicopter fleet.

Bell-Boeing Joint Program Office is being awarded a $9.6-million delivery order for engineering and technical support for management of the V-22 flight control system and on-aircraft software after completion of the V-22 Engineering and Manufacturing, Development Phase.

Boeing received a $20-million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for CH-47 health monitor system technology field support study and objective performance specification development.

Breeze-Eastern has won a $9.9-million, firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for repair, overhaul, and test and evaluation of various cargo hooks, winches, and other components used in support of H-3 and H-53 aircraft.

Breeze-Eastern on June 28 was been awarded its first Sea King Integrated Operational Support (SKIOS) contract valued at $6.2 million from AgustaWestland. Under this contract, Breeze-Eastern will provide spare parts over three years to support the U.K. Ministry of Defence through AgustaWestland’s existing SKIOS contract.

Breeze-Eastern on May 23 was awarded a $1.1-million option to a firm-fixed price contract by Warner Robins Air Logistics Center for the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Forces for use on their HH-60Gs. All work under the contract will be performed at the company’s Union, N.J. facility, and is to be completed by May 2007.

Breeze-Eastern won a contract from Derco Aerospace for repair of rescue hoists, cargo hooks, and other items used in support of the U. S. Navy/MHSCo H-60 Tip-to-Tail Performance-Based Logistics Program. The initial contract valued $6.6 million and contains options, which, if exercised, will bring the total cumulative value to more than $10 million.

Breeze-Eastern, a division of TransTechnology Corp. in May was awarded a $2.9-million, firm-fixed price contract by the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala. for 140 C-160 Cargo Hooks for the CH-47 Aircraft. The contract has two 100-percent option years. The maximum quantity under this contract is 420. The options may be exercised during the option period for the maximum contract quantity.

CAE in August was awarded a contract valued at about $44 million by Lockheed Martin U.K. to perform a range of upgrades on the CAE-built U.K. Royal Navy’s EH101 Merlin Training System. As part of the Merlin Capability Sustainment Programme (MCSP), CAE will upgrade the Merlin Cockpit Dynamic Simulator (full-mission simulator), Cockpit Procedures Trainer (CPT), and two Rear Crew Trainers (RCTs) stationed at Royal Navy Air Station (RNAS) Culdrose.

CAE in May was awarded a contract to upgrade the Lynx helicopter full-mission flight trainer (FMFT) at Naval Air Station de Kooy in Den Helder, Netherlands. The Lynx FMFT is part of the Joint Lynx Simulator Training Establishment (JLSTE) used by the armed forces of Norway, Denmark, Holland and Germany to train Lynx helicopter aircrews. The simulator is specifically designed so the Lynx FMFT can be reconfigured to ensure concurrency with the fleets of Lynx helicopters operated by the various nations. In addition, CAE has contracted with Agusta S.p.A., an AgustaWestland company, to design and manufacture another A109 cockpit for the A109 full-mission simulator that CAE is delivering to Rotorsim, a consortium owned equally by Agusta and CAE with a training center in Sesto Calende, Italy.

CAE in September won a contract valued at more than £7 million ($13.2 million) over the next five years from Lockheed Martin U.K. for the logistics support of the CAE-built training devices within Lockheed Martin’s EH101 Merlin Training System located at Royal Navy Air Station (RNAS) Culdrose. The contract is in support of the AgustaWestland Integrated Merlin Operational Support (IMOS) prime contract.

CAE USA in August won a competitive procurement to design and manufacture MH-60R and SH-60B tactical operational flight trainers (TOFTs) for the U.S. Navy. The initial contract, valued at $40 million, calls for CAE to develop one MH-60R TOFT and one SH-60B TOFT.

CHC Helicopter Corp. in January won a five-year contract renewal (plus two one-year options) by ConocoPhillips Australia Pty Ltd for the provision of helicopter transportation services in support of its offshore gas operations in East Timor. Based out of Dili, E. Timor, the contract will be supported by two dedicated Super Puma AS332 helicopters and is valued at $46 million over the fixed five-year term. The contract commenced immediately.

Crestview Aerospace Corp. won a contract worth more than $100 million from Bell Helicopter to produce UH-1Y airframe structures over an eight-year period. Production was to begin in January at Crestview’s Fairhope, Ala., plant, with first deliveries expected in July. Bell also awarded Crestview a contract for production of 30 Bell Model 210 tail booms. It currently produces tail booms for the U.S. Army’s Model 406.

DynCorp International of Fort Worth, Texas was awarded a $9.1 million delivery order as part of a $406 million contract for refurbishment of UH-1H helicopters.

EADS North America Defense Test and Services was awarded a $709,000 Navy contract to develop applications software for the Shaft Engine Test Instrumentation program to allow testing of the GE CT7-8 engines for the Presidential VH-71.

EADS North America Defense Test and Services was awarded a $709,000 Navy contract to develop applications software for the Shaft Engine Test Instrumentation program to allow testing of the GE CT7-8 engines for the Presidential VH-71.

EFW Inc. has been awarded multiple contracts valued at $815,000 to supply the U.S. Coast Guard with an Aviator’s Night Vision Imaging System/Head Up Display (ANVIS/HUD). The systems extend the border patrol, vessel identification and search and rescue capabilities of the Coast Guard’s HH-65s and HH-60Js. EFW is an Elbit Systems of America company.

EFW Inc. has been chosen to supply the Helmet Display and Tracking System (HDTS) for the U.S. Army’s new Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter designed and manufactured by Bell Helicopter. The HDTS will be based on EFW’s ANVIS/HUD (Aviator’s Night Vision Imaging System/ Head Up Display) with a Tracking System for pilot targeting and cueing. The program is valued at $51 million through 2012.

Eurocopter Deutschland GmbH has recently signed a contract for the delivery of 12 modernized BO105 helicopters, with aid from the German government, to the Albanian Defense Ministry. The €10-million ($12.8 million) contract will be spread over a period of 3 years. The helicopters are a gift from the German Government to the Albanian Government.

Eurocopter signed a contract on April 25 with the Swiss procurement agency, armasuisse, for 20 helicopters. Under the Swiss Light Transport and Training Helicopter (LTSH) program, 18 EC635 for utility and advanced training missions and two EC135 for VIP/parliamentarian transport missions have been ordered. Deliveries of the helicopters will take place between the beginning of 2008 and the end of 2009.

FLIR Systems, Inc. was selected in July by Bell Helicopter to provide its BRITE Star 2 airborne, stabilized, multi-sensor system as the Target Acquisition Sensor Suite for the U.S. Army’s ARH-70A Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter Program. The BRITE Star 2 is a commercially developed, military-qualified multi-sensor system that incorporates an advanced third-generation thermal imager, a CCD-TV camera, a laser designator and a laser rangefinder.

Goodrich Corp. of Monroe, N.C., was awarded a $5.7-million, firm, fixed-price contract by the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal for generators for the CH-47. The work is to be done in Pirstone Bucks, United Kingdom, and is expected to be completed by August 2009.

Goodrich Corp. of Monroe, N.C., was awarded a $5.7-million, firm, fixed-price contract by the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal for generators for the CH-47. The work is to be done in Pirstone Bucks, United Kingdom, and is expected to be completed by August 2009.

Helicopter Support Inc. (HSI) in New Haven, Conn. has contracted with American Eurocopter to become a service center for Eurocopter models, including the BO105, EC120, AS350 and the AS355. HSI is a subsidiary of Sikorsky.

Heli-Dyne Systems, Inc. early in the year was awarded a contract by the Westchester County, N.Y. Police Dept for a new Bell 407. The Bell 407 purchased by Heli-Dyne will be completed to the department’s specifications. Some of the avionics and communications equipment installations include the Chelton Synthetic Vision EFIS, the new Technisonic TDFM-71158 VHF/UHF/800 MHz, Dual Honeywell KX 165A VHF/NAV, and the NAT Audio system. The special mission equipment will consist of the FLIR 8500RTX with laser pointer, Breeze external hoist, Bambi Bucket provisions, Avalex Moving Map, Digital Recorder and Monitors along with the BMS Microwave Downlink System and the Spectrolab SX16 Nightsun. It was scheduled for delivery prior to Sept. 1.

Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. was to undertake the repair and overhaul of "rotable" items including the transmission and rotor heads in support of this contract under a contract the Indian Navy awarded to AgustaWestland to return to service seven Sea King Mk 42B helicopters.

Honeywell Defense and Space Electronic Systems in Clearwater, Fla. received a $5.16-million, firm, fixed-price contract modification from the U.S. tri-service EGI office at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio exercising an option to purchase 66 embedded global positioning system/inertial navigation system (EGIs) production install units for the CH-47. The work is to be complete by June 2008.

Keystone Helicopter Corp. in February was picked by the Consolidated Fire Protection District of Los Angeles County to transform two new Bell 412EPs into well-equipped, multi-mission performers. The estimated cost to customize both aircraft is $2.3 million, and all work, including design and engineering approvals, will be performed at Keystone’s completion facility in Coatesville, Pa. Keystone expects to receive the helicopters in March and deliver them sometime mid-year.

L-3 Communications WESCAM in May received an order from Keystone Helicopter to provide four MX-15i electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) systems for installation on Sikorsky S-92 search- and-rescue aircraft. The aircraft will be provided to Canadian Helicopter Corp. for deployment to the United Kingdom to support UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency SAR operations.

L-3 Communications’s Link Simulation and Training (Link) division in January won a $33.4-million, follow-on production contract to build four additional U.S. Army Aviation Combined Arms Tactical Trainer (AVCATT) suites. Under this award Link will be building the 12th through 15th AVCATT suites ordered by the U.S. Army to date. These four AVCATT suites will be delivered during 2007.

McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Co. was awarded a $40.9-million modification to a contract for procurement of AH-64D Apache Longbow aircraft.

NHIndustries on July 31 signed a contract with the minister of defence of New Zealand to supply nine NH90 medium-lift helicopters to provide eight operational helicopters to the Royal New Zealand Air Force.

Raytheon Integrated Defense Services of Portsmouth, R.I., has been awarded an order not to exceed $45 million from the U.S. Naval Inventory Control Point against a basic ordering agreement contract for procurement of six complete MH-60R systems and six weapons replaceable assemblies for that U.S. Navy helicopter. Work will be performed in Portsmouth, R.I., and is expected to be completed by September 2007.

Rolls-Royce Corp., Indianapolis, Ind., was awarded a $58.7-million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract to exercise an option for the Fiscal 2006 procurement of 22 MV-22 and six CV-22 AE1107C engines. Work will be performed in Indianapolis, Ind., and is expected to be completed in December 2007.

Sikorsky Aircraft has received multiple contract awards for the UH/MH-60, including a $33.3-million modification to a firm, fixed-price contract for U.S. Navy MH-60S Knighthawks, a $17.85-million, firm, fixed-price contract for rotor hub assemblies for the UH-60 Utility Black Hawk, a $341.3-million modification to a firm, fixed-price contract for UH-60Ls and UH-60Ms and a $37-million modification to a firm, fixed-price contract for UH-60L and HH-60M Black Hawks.

Sikorsky has won a maximum $224.4-million, firm, fixed-price contract for spare parts to support aircraft platforms for federal civilian agencies by the U.S. Defense Supply Center following a sole-source competition with one solicited and one responded exercising option year one.

Sikorsky won a $6.3-million, firm, fixed-price order for non-recurring engineering required to incorporate the armed helicopter weapon system fixed provisions in the MH-60S production line. Sikorsky was also awarded $40.2 million for advance procurement funding for the MH-60R as well as a $22.9-million modification to a previously contract to extend the period of performance of the special progressive aircraft rework in support of the VH-3D/VH-60N presidential helicopter.

The Purdy Corp. was awarded a delivery order amount of $10 million as part of a $16.9-million firm-fixed-price contract for Intermediate gearboxes for the AH-64 aircraft.

US Helicopter has been awarded a contract from ARINC Engineering Systems to upgrade 16 UH-1Hs to the enhanced Huey 2 configuration. US Helicopter is responsible for all aircraft refurbishment, modification, and flight test at its Ozark, Ala., facility. The contract is part of the effort by the Coalition Air Force Transition Team and the Multi National Security Command in assisting to stand up the Iraqi Air Force.

US Helicopter won a contract for a UH-1N service life extension program in support of the U.S. State Dept. This is the first phase of a five-year plan to extend the service life of the department’s UH-1N fleet of about 43 aircraft. US Helicopter will perform all aircraft refurbishment, modification, and flight test at its Ozark, Ala., facility, as a subcontractor to DynCorp International.

US Helicopter, a division of Bell Helicopter’s Bell Aerospace Services Inc., received a contract from Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems for nine TH-1Hs. These will be used to support U.S. Air Force undergraduate training at Fort Rucker, Ala.

U.S. Army’s Post-Comanche Programs Plow Ahead

Despite some hiccups, U.S. Army aviation revitalization plans born two years ago from the death of the $14-billion RAH-66 Comanche program are on track to fulfill the vision of that day.

Army leaders back then laid out a plan, which won presidential backing, to keep the Comanche’s money in the Army aviation pot and parcel it out to programs that would fill critical military needs.

Some elements have proceeded with little notice. Recapitalization of the UH-60 Black Hawk and CH-47 Chinook fleets has succeeded and the Army is slated to get hundreds of those critical lift assets in coming years.

A measure of their success in improving the design of the respective aircraft and streamlining their production is both programs have transitioned from rebuilt to new-build airframes.

(The Chinook team was so successful in taking cost out and adding capability to the aircraft that they persuaded the U.S. Air Force that the "new" CH-47 should be the basis for their next-generation combat search-and-rescue helicopter.)

The ARH-70A Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter that takes on much of Comanche’s mission is running now about six months behind the preferred schedule of fielding the first equipped unit by October 2008.

(The program is not behind the official Pentagon schedule, though, which reportedly has about a year of cushion in it.) But Army and Bell Helicopter officials are working on plans to recover the schedule.

With protests of its contract awards denied, the Light Utility Helicopter is again on track, with EADS North America slated to deliver the first of the Eurocopter EC145 variants on Dec. 11.

Next up is the fixed-wing element of the revitalization plan, the Joint Cargo Aircraft program to replaced the Army’s aging C-23 Sherpa fleet and add shorter-range airlift capability for the U.S. Air Force.

Brig. Gen. Stephen Mundt, director of the Army aviation task force, said the services are working with Congress to iron out initial funding for the $7-billion program. He is confident, he said, that a contract for the new cargo aircraft can be awarded by March.

L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. and Italy’s Alenia Aeronautica are offering the C-27J, while a team of Raytheon Co. and EADS are offering the C-295.

Plans call for the services to buy 145 planes.

AgustaWestland Broadens Base With Merlin Support Contract

Top AgustaWestland officials began 2006 hoping for the U.K. Defense Ministry’s nod to take over the bulk of support for its helicopters as a means of broadening the international aviation firm’s business base beyond aircraft design and manufacturing.

Their aspirations were fulfilled. Just as the year began, the defense ministry tapped AgustaWestland to be prime contractor on the Integrated Merlin Operational Support (IMOS) initiative, which proponents argue will transform logistics support arrangements for the UK fleet of EH101 Merlins.

This partnering arrangement, valued at £450 million ($850 million) for the first five years of a 25-year contract, will provide support for the Merlin Mk.1 and Mk.3 helicopters operated by the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force, respectively. The IMOS contract introduces payments for achieved flying hours and novel incentive arrangements associated with delivering agreed levels of aircraft serviceability, operational fleet aircraft numbers and EH101 Merlin HM Mk.1 training system availability.

AgustaWestland officials argue that it is a significant move toward the day when a commander is free to focus on planning and executing military missions, with an efficiently run contractor team charged with ensuring that aircraft are ready to fly when the aircrews are.

"Until now MoD has operated separate support systems for the two different types of Merlin aircraft," said Minister for the Armed Forces Adam Ingram. "This was the best approach when introducing both helicopters into service, but not the optimum way to manage support in the long-term."

This contract is set up to motivate industry to increase the availability of Merlin helicopters to the front-line commands, while saving the MoD and taxpayers around £1 billion in support costs over the next 25 years.

On Oct. 1, the IMOS contract reached its final implementation milestone when responsibility for on- and off-aircraft depth maintenance was transferred from the MoD to AgustaWestland. The Merlin Depth Maintenance Facility is located at RNAS Culdrose and is responsible for performing all Royal Navy and Royal Air Force EH101 Merlin depth maintenance.

The IMOS contract takes AgustaWestland’s Integrated Operational Support to the full Availability Output level, placing the responsibility on the company to deliver complete supply chain management and an operational fleet availability service.

"For the first time we have all the elements of the support chain working within one organizational structure" said Bert Brookes, AgustaWestland’s director of customer services. "A sense of partnership pervades IMOS at every level and stems from the common goal of delivering benefits to the Merlin squadrons who are on the front line. We are delighted that in the short period since contract award the IMOS Team from Industry, the MoD and the Merlin Integrated Product Team have created a true partnering environment."

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